Casino games are the lifeblood of New Zealand’s top sites. With that being the case, it’s worth understanding the market before you play for real money. So, if you’re ready to expand your mind, here’s our guide to the types of casino games you’ll find online, including blackjack, roulette, pokies and more.
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Although every NZ casino is different, the following list of options will almost always form the foundation of every online gaming lobby:
Online Pokies: Also known as slots, online pokies are high-octane games where the aim is to match three or more symbols from left to right. As well as fixed wins, the top NZ pokies contain bonuses and mini-games. These allow you to unlock mystery wins, free spins, prize multipliers and more.
Roulette: The aim of roulette is to predict where the ball is going to land on a spinning wheel. The beauty of online roulette is that you can be as general or specific as you like with your predictions. For example, you can make a 50/50 bet on red or black. Alternatively, you can shoot for better payouts by trying to predict the exact number (0-36) the ball will land on.
Card-Based Games: Blackjack sees take on a dealer in a race to 21. Alongside blackjack, you’ll find various forms of casino poker, where the best five-card hand wins. Finally, for seasoned players, baccarat is a game where you choose to back the player hand or the bank in a race to nine, while pai gow poker allows you to create two hands from a selection of seven in order to beat the dealer.
Video Poker: Like table poker, video poker requires you to make a ranked five-card hand (e.g. a straight, a flush, a full house etc). As well as an extremely quick format, video poker is popular because skilled players have a decent shot at winning. By understanding the mathematics of poker (i.e. the odds of making certain hands etc), you can achieve a consistent win rate when luck is on your side.
Number-Based Games: Although number-based games are less common, you will find the top NZ casino sites offer some form of bingo and/or keno. In reality, bingo and keno are similar in that you buy a game card filled with numbers and the aim is to match them with the numbers called. However, in practice, bingo offers better odds because you’re competing against other players rather than the house.
Live casino games: Live dealer tables combine HD webcams and RFID sensors to create a truly immersive experience. When you join one of these tables (blackjack, roulette, baccarat or casino poker), you’ll see a real person controlling the action on a live table. Using a virtual overlay on the screen, you can place a bet via your desktop or mobile and watch as the action plays out in real time.
The Odds: Understanding the House Edge Before You Bet
Every casino game has a different house edge. In simple terms, this means the casino has a bigger advantage in some games than it does in others. Naturally, every game you play at a licensed site will be 100% random and fair. However, if you look at the table below, you’ll see that it’s easier the casino doesn’t have as big an advantage in some games as it does in others:
- Blackjack: House edge = 0.28% (Vegas rules)
- Video Poker: House edge = 0.46% (Jacks or Better)
- Baccarat: House edge = 1.06% (banker bet) / 1.24% (player bet)
- Pokies: House edge = 2%-15%
- Roulette: House edge = 2.70% (single-zero game)/5.26% (double-zero game)
- Caribbean Stud Poker: House edge = 5.66%
- Keno: House edge = 25%-29%
Free Casino Games: Have Fun and Hone Your Skills
Before we leave you to explore the NZ casino scene, we have to tell you about free games. If you join any of our recommended sites, you’ll see that virtually all of them offer free online casino games. As their name suggests, these games don’t cost anything to play. The caveat, however, is that you can’t win real money. Basically, you’ll be given a virtual bankroll that allows you to explore the game, place some “bets” and win some fake chips.
For example, let’s say you join LeoVegas and search through the slots lobby. You decide to take a spin on Hot Safari and you hit the demo play button. After a few seconds, the game is live and you’re able to select the desired coin size, adjust the number of paylines and review your potential payouts. Once you’ve got a feel for the action, switching to real-money play is a simple matter of selecting an option in the settings menu. From there, everything will look exactly the same. The only difference is that your virtual bankroll will be replaced with your actual bankroll.
In our opinion, free casino games should be your go-to choice each time you find a new option online. As well as being entertaining, they allow you to get a feel for the action and test out some moves before spending any money. That, for us, is the perfect way to conserve your bankroll and ensure you only play the games you like.
Mobile Casino Games
Desktop gaming might still be the go-to method for many players but mobiles casinos are more popular than ever. Today, the leading online casino operators all offer some form of gaming on the go. Whether it’s an optimised website or an app, mobile casinos contain all the features of a desktop site and more.
Indeed, one of the defining features of mobile casinos is how tactile they are. Instead of clicking buttons to bet, you can touch, swipe and even shake your device. These controls make the process of playing blackjack, slots, roulette et al more immersive and, for many players, more entertaining.